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5 reasons why this Middle Eastern city is the world’s best destination for digital nomads

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Istanbul has always been a inexhaustible source of fascination.

For centuries now, the mystery of its minaret-studded skyline and bustling bazaars has attracted millions of travelers, and although it was the city of world desire in ancient times, today it is one of the the most popular cities in the world. main tourist destinations.

Besides the usual history buffs and Ottomanphiles, there is another category of visitors that Istanbul seems to attract these days: digital nomads.

Woman working on her laptop in Istanbul, a Middle Eastern city ideal for digital nomads

These rural people are known for crossing national borders quickly and combining work and leisure by working remotely, but somehow, an increasing number of them have decided to settle in Istanbul, even temporarily, Or at least have become frequent visitors…

So much so that this year, it exceeded a Solopress ranking of the world’s leading digital nomad destinations.

If you’ve never been to Istanbul yourself and haven’t been exposed to its timeless charm, you may be wondering how the Middle Eastern giant became so popular with this population.

In this article we will give you the 5 main reasons why:

The Karakoy district of Istanbul with the historic Galata Tower towering over historic buildings across the Golden Horn, seen at sunset, Turkiye, Eurasia

Istanbul is affordable

First of all, it is affordable to live there.

When going abroad or constantly moving between countries, nomads tend to favor destinations where their hard-earned money will increase in value or, at the very least, where their quality of life will increase significantly. in relation to their country of origin.

In case you didn’t know so far, the Turkish lira is currently one of the most devalued currencies in the developing world, after reaching a historic low against the dollar this year. Currently, one dollar can buy up to 27 lira; in 2019, the conversion rate was around 6 lira to the dollar.

A person counting Turkish lira banknotes, the national currency of Turkiye

The national currency is in freefall due to the Turkish government’s controversial monetary policies, and while this may be very bad news for Turks and investors, Western nomads have found refuge in Istanbul.

As seen on Numberthe estimated monthly costs of a single person in Istanbul, without rent, are only $501 on average, making it 65.7% cheaper to reside than New York, and 54.8% cheaper than Paris:

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs $6.62 on average
  • A half liter of local beer only costs $2.94
  • A cup of regular cappuccino at a cafe is estimated at $2.15
  • 1 kg of apples costs only $0.92
  • 1 kg of bananas is a negligible sum of $1.45
  • 1 kg of potatoes will cost no more than $0.68 on average
  • 1 kg of red hind leg meat costs on average $13.95
Turkish Piyaz dish is popular in Antalya

In addition to affordable food and consumer goods, a visit to the salon for a haircut and/or hair treatment will cost between $5 and $25, on averagewith prices varying by district, and you should be able to visit a hammam – the city’s famous spas – for as cheap as $20.

Although inflation has pushed prices up, and they are certainly more expensive than a few years ago, Istanbul is always a good dealespecially if you are a nomad with a more limited budget.

Many coworking spots

Woman on computer working in a cafe, location unspecified

Secondly, one of the other reasons why nomads can’t seem to get enough of this exciting city is the high concentration of nomad-friendly cafes and coworking places. The city is brimming with life (and expats)and he surely takes up the challenge of welcoming them well.

Not to mention the countless quirky internet cafes that line the hilly cobblestone streets of Beyoglu, perhaps the hippest spot for Istanbul’s nomads, the city itself has 114 coworking spaces, according to estimates by List of nomads.

They are scattered across the vast megalopolis, whose arms extend from the Anatolian peninsula, spanning the continental border that is the Bosphorus Strait, to the Balkans of southeastern Europe, but two areas are highly recommended for nomads.

Aerial view of Galata Tower in Beyoglu district of Istanbul, European side, Middle East

On the European side, the neighborhoods with the highest concentration of coworking spaces seem to be Beyoglu, close to the Galata Tower, and Fatih, which is home to some of Istanbul’s neighborhoods. the most emblematic monumentsincluding the ancient monuments of fallen Constantinople.

On the Asian side of town, Uskudar takes the lead. the most popular area for digital nomads. Some of the top-rated spots on Google include Fatih CoBAC Workspacethat of Kagithane Impact Centerand DAIRE of Beşiktaş Coworking.

Istanbul is liberal

solo traveler or tourist in Istanbul on the Bosphorus

The Middle East has a bad reputation in the Western world due to its past as a hotbed of religious wars and rampant urban crime. this certainly does not apply to Turkeynot to mention Istanbul, where there is certainly a Sunni Muslim majority, but where secularism prevails.

While they shouldn’t let their guard down and walk alone in deserted, poorly lit neighborhoods, women have no reason to feel unsafe while exploring Istanbul, nor are they expected to adhere to strict dress codes.

Turkish women are free to dress and express themselves as they wish, and although the country is indeed more conservative at heart and more religious Turkish women would probably refrain from doing so, this does not It’s not a crime to wear short skirts, tank tops, or bikinis to the beach.

Young woman lying on a beach in Turkey with a Turkish flag straw hat, Mediterranean coast

LGBTQ+ nomads are too for a treat, as Istanbul has a vibrant gay scene, with a myriad of gay-friendly bars, saunas and bars to choose from. They may be hiding beneath the surface, but rest assured, they’re still there.

Granted, you won’t see rainbow flags flying from a flagpole as often, or places openly denying that they are gay clubs, despite their clientele, because Turkish law isn’t that permissive, but all what you do behind closed doors is entirely your business. .

Alongside Tel AvivIstanbul is perhaps one of the freest cities in the Middle East.

It’s a very safe city

Istanbul is also incredibly safe.

Woman in Istanbul, Türkiye

It can suffer from a culture of scams, with rogue taxi drivers deliberately overcharging tourists as soon as they realize they are from the wealthier Western world or pickpocketing in heavily touristed areas. frequented, but it is extremely unlikely that you will be a victim of violence in the city.

Naturally, we don’t recommend visiting some of the rundown neighborhoods after sunset, especially some of the alleys in Beyoglu, just off Taksim Square, but there’s no denying that Istanbul is safe overall.

According to the State Department, travelers should simply exercise “increased caution” when visiting Turkey due to minor crimes, as mentioned above.

Easy links everywhere

A plane flies over the Galata Tower, Istanbul, Türkiye

Finally, Istanbul benefits from excellent connections with virtually the entire world. With two airports, one on the European side, the other in Asia, it’s a major global hub that you’ll inevitably pass at some point when crossing the imaginary East-West border.

Needless to say, by settling in Istanbul, even temporarily, digital nomads enjoy easy links to virtually all of Asia, including the recently opened China, the continent’s southeastern peninsula, India and more, Africa – not just North Africa but several sub-Saharan states – and of course Europe.

Happy traveler watching planes at airport

Departing from Sabiha Gokcen, Istanbul’s local hub for budget airlines, travelers can just as easily reach European countries like Spain, France, Italy, Greece and others at very affordable prices.

In a sense, Istanbul is at the heart of the worldand there really is no better place to be or use as a home base if you’re a remote worker looking to explore the world.

Learn more:

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans for 2023 starting at $10 per week

How to easily earn points for free travel

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